Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on studying mental processes such as thinking, perception, attention, problem-solving, and memory. It seeks to understand how these mental processes work and how they influence behavior.

The history of cognitive psychology

Cognitive psychology emerged in the 1950s as a response to behaviorism, which dominated psychology at the time. Behaviorism focused on observable behaviors and believed that all behaviors were learned through conditioning. However, cognitive psychologists believed that behavior was also influenced by internal mental processes.

What does cognitive psychology seek to study?

Cognitive psychology seeks to study a wide range of mental processes. Some of the primary areas of focus include:


Perception refers to how we interpret sensory information from the environment. This includes how we perceive shapes, colors, sounds, and other stimuli. Cognitive psychologists seek to understand how our brains process this information and how it influences our behavior.


Attention refers to our ability to focus on certain stimuli while ignoring others. Cognitive psychologists study attention to understand how we filter out distractions and prioritize important information.


Memory refers to our ability to store and retrieve information over time. Cognitive psychologists study memory to understand how we form memories, how we forget information, and how we can improve memory performance.


Language is a complex cognitive process that involves multiple mental processes such as grammar, syntax, and semantics. Cognitive psychologists study language acquisition in children as well as language processing in adults.


Problem-solving refers to our ability to find solutions to complex problems. Cognitive psychologists study problem-solving strategies and techniques such as heuristics, algorithms, and insight.


Decision-making is a complex cognitive process that involves weighing multiple options and making choices based on various factors. Cognitive psychologists study decision-making to understand how we make choices and how we can make better decisions.


In summary, cognitive psychology seeks to study a wide range of mental processes such as perception, attention, memory, language, problem-solving, and decision-making. By understanding how these processes work, cognitive psychologists hope to improve our understanding of human behavior and develop new interventions for treating cognitive disorders.